OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to describe the incidence of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense sleeping sickness in the last functioning treatment centre in Buikwe South HSD in Southeast Uganda, in Mukono District, for a 19-year period (1989-2008). This is a report on the treatment outcome, structure of population affected, comparison with the published data on general incidence of T. b rhodesiensae in Uganda and functioning of sleeping sickness control program.
METHODS: Cross-sectional sleeping sickness data from 1989 to 2008 were collected retrospectively in 2009 at Buikwe Sleeping Sickness Center to identify case counts and measures of disease magnitude per sub-county per year. Data were collected from all available records of sleeping sickness patients. Case counts from the Buikwe South sub-counties, and even some neighboring sub-counties for 19 years (1989-2008) were collected and analyzed by Microsoft Excel and EpiInfo program.
RESULTS: In the period from 1989 to 2008, 372 cases of sleeping sickness were diagnosed and treated. Children under 5 years were 12 (3.22%) - males 6, females 6, patients in the age from 6 to 15 years were 51 (13.7%) - males 30, females 21, and patients above 15 were 309 (83.06%) - males 176, females 133. In the category 5-15 years and above 15 years there was a significant gender difference closely connected to the professional exposure. The oldest patient was 80 years old, the youngest was 3 moths old. The average age of the patients was 30.8 years. From all 372 patients with trypanosomiasis 30 had died - 10 females and 20 males, which means 8% case fatality. The case fatality rate in the late stage of the disease was 14%. From this group 6 patients (20%) had negative BS. The average interval between the diagnosis and death was 14.4 days, in 10 patients the exact date of death was not recorded. Average age of the patients that died was 30.6 years.
CONCLUSION: Sleeping sickness still remains a serious public health problem. Since the preventive and educational activities for the control of this neglected disease are not functioning, it very easily can re-emerge. In the future, it is also essential to support the research of less toxic drugs, further research and interventions related to parasite transmission through cattle movements and potential changes in vector-human exposure in central Ugandan districts as well as strengthening of the necessary, relevant surveillance systems.